Bring my own car from US to Bulgaria

Dear People,
I plan to move for 3 years to Bulgaria.
Is it possible to bring my car from US and drive it there. At the end of the period I plan to bring the car back to US

Welcome to the forum.

I did a quick Google search and you have to pay a hefty import tax and there will be shipping costs.
With emission controls your vehicle will need an inspection before being registered and plated to drive in Bulgaria.

I think it's possible to do a permanent import, which requires payment of duty + VAT (+32%), and you get regular BG plates. Or you can do a temporary import which doesn't require duty/VAT paid, and you get special temporary BG plates.

This link was posted in another forum on the subject:

Stumpy thank you very much for your response. I was thinking more about avoiding the 30% import fee especially if I am taking the car back to US in 3 years!
Have a pleasant day

Dear Gwynj,
Thank you very much for sharing the link. I read it and it has everything I was looking for!
Have a pleasant day!

OK, first are you moving here if so and you have owned your car and reg in the states for min of 6mon you ship it as household goods which means you pay NO taxes, that being said you do have to pay inspections, getting reg in BG, shipping .....and then depending on the car if you have to change anything to fit euro specs, I did it about 1 1/2 yr ago and unless you bring a new car( I did and owned it 1yr before coming ) or have something really special or you really love my advice sell in states and get a good used here will be much easier.

Customs Regulations:
Customs requires vehicles, including motorcycles to be declared on a temporary import basis and a
“guaranty” be payable for the vehicle. The amount of the guaranty depends on the year of manufacture, model
of the vehicle, year of first registration, bhp or kW of the engine. Your service provider will be able to
ascertain how much the customer will need to provide to customs. The temporary import for a vehicle needs
to be renewed annually if your stay is longer than one year.
Required Documents:
9 Proof of Registration
9 Proof of Ownership (invoice, purchase contract, etc)
9 Visa
9 National Drivers license
9 International Insurance Policy
Diplomat Status:
Diplomats are can import one vehicle Duty and Tax-free.
Required Documents:
9 Proof of Registration
9 Proof of Ownership (invoice, purchase contract, etc)
Duties for vehicle importation are as follows:
Used Cars
System DIN (European) System SAE (American System)
Engine over 120 and less 150 KW Engine over 126 and less than 157,5 KW
35 BGN per KW: between 4, 200 – 5,250 BGN 33,33 BGN per KW: between 4 200 – 5 250 BGN
Over 150 KW Over 157,5 KW
60 BGN per KW : 9 000 BGN 57,14 BGN per KW : between 4 200 – 5 250 BGN

See the following link:Customs Bulgaria
It is the only way to import your car to the whole EU. All other ways claimed as above posts are illegal and will get you in a shit load of trouble.

Ramses yes you have to leave deposit if you are temp here ie vacation, bussness.... But if you come as a perminent move with "D"visa and import it directly to were you claim customs and it is minimum 6mon reg to you and payed off the it comes as household goods and no deposit needed, also if you leave deposit in other eu country as soon as you do your customs and reg you get refunded

AS you stated your  Father lives in Plovdiv are you by any chance a dual citizen?

If you are a Bg Citizen or Dual citizen you can bring your car in without import duties provided you have owned the vehicle in your name for at least 6 months.   I know because I have brought in several cars and one high dollar car met that requirement.   If you are not a Bulgarian citizen you will have to pay hefty fees as outlined by others plus the cost of transport.   

You will be required to have a "professional statement of value"  from a licensed dealer.   If you have had the car for a few years you can likely get the lowest possible price that is a wholesale price.   That is what I do as I have imported several cars from my vehicle collection and sold them in Bulgaria as they were  sought after Muscle cars from the 60"s.  The registration process is lengthy and can take at least a full day.   I pay a person 200 leva to do the registration for me.   This requires that all documents are in order, good Original Title, proof of value and Bulgarian Liability Insurance. 

I went through the registration once and it was a nightmare.  Well worth the 200 leva.   

If you are returning to the states in a few years it may not be worth the expense.  It might be better to sell your car in the US and buy or lease something in Bulgaria.   If from a dealer you will pay VAT.   If you are looking for a used car it is very difficult to find a quality used vehicle only a few years old like in the US.  Many dealerships offer 3 year fixed price leases at 2.9%.   I know because I looked for a Mercedes GLS 450 and evaluated all of the facts. 

Why?   Cars are very expensive in Bg because of the vat.  Dealers seem to charge more for cars than in the US and because of these two items when one is able to purchase a car they will drive it till it is ready to give up the Ghost.   Thus you can find 15 year old Mercedes with 400,000 KM for sale at a price close to a three year old Mercedes in the the US with low miles.

Here is a case in point.   I recently purchased a Certified 2017 Mercedes Benz GLS 450 with under 30,000 miles (48,000 KM) for $34,800 and no US tax as I exported it to Bulgaria.  I received a wholesale valuation for $23,500 and shipping cost $2,590.   You can't find a car like this in Bulgaria for under E60,000 and you will pay VAT if you buy it from a dealer.   I am not certain how it works with a private sale.   I have heard that many people will represent that they paid far less then they actually did, however i will not run a risk with the Government Import Authorities.  I don't know what the consequences are however that would not be acceptable to an honest person.

In this case it might be a good idea to consider buying a car in Bulgaria and selling it after 3 years, instead of dealing with all the hassle of organizing a temporary import from the USA, transport to BG, transport back to the USA, technical issues etc. .... Unless you own a flying car of course :)

Good idea!   As a permanent resident I have brought over my  wife's favorite vehicles for use.   They are Big by Bg. standards.   She  purchased a used Smart car for E2,000 locally and love it.  I use it as my work car and have been delighted with it.  Even if it doesn't last three years it and many other small cars are available and make economic sense.   So far it has performed well and we prefer it in the city as it is compact with low taxes and great mileage.  Many ways to solve a need.   Kudos to Expat.

I think you will have to have it registered and change the plates my ex had to do it there is an insurance issue too  but double check, may be easier to buy a car in Bulgaria. Kind regards.

@Lillianausa can you please add some details around this “ship it as household goods”? Can you share some links to relevant info? Thanks!

This suold explan:


a few years ago I would've said That's a good idea. Now I'm not so sure for several reasons. I have imported several cars because they have been much cheaper than similar cars in Europe often have more amenities affiliated with them and generally much lower mileage.

A few years ago one could ship a car within 4 to 6 weeks now it's taking 6 to 10 months. 

. And customs has dramatically cracked down and have established valuations for a vehicle so it's difficult to avoid the 20% import tax.

I don't find insurance to be an issue however Bulgarian insurance companies do not pay on any claims and if you are persistent enough it may take a year or two to get a payment out of them.

Will be required to purchase liability insurance which is often only a few hundred dollars a year at most however comprehensive coverage is another story

my cars are insured with Clements Worldwide who is a very reputable insurance company and the cost is often much less than that of a Bulgarian company however the assurance of payment is there.

Going back to shipping I have routed cars to Amsterdam and Rotterdam where now over 50,000 cars are backed up in Port because of a new import registration systemCurrently there are some 40,000 vehicles stacked up in Bergers awaiting processing.   Plan on at least a year to get your car on the road

The cost of shipping has gone up dramatically from about $1900.06 years ago to a little over 3000 and often times $5000 today. Then of course there is the inspection costs which can easily approach 1000$. 

Does she really need a car you might consider taking the taxi if you're in a metropolitan area and renting a car if you want to go on Weekend John's

Do agree, unless you have something real special just sell in US and take the money and buy a used here, save your self a lot of headache with shipping , customs, title, ........ If I had to do again would not have shipped car when I moved.


There are very small charges if your car was registered to you for more than 6 months prior to moving to Bulgaria.  I just moved back and I brought back my car.